In a bid to address complaints of shortage or non-availability of essential drugs in pharmacies and hospitals, the Delhi government has put all data on medicine stocks online.
Officials said the government uploaded all information related to the demand, supply, and stock of the essential medicines on its website.
“The initiative has been taken to bring complete transparency regarding medicine stocks. Anyone can look at the list of medicines available at a particular hospital. A list of out-of-stock medicines has been put up on the website,” said Dr NV Kamat, director of health services, Delhi government.
The Delhi government provides more than 400 types of essential drugs free of cost to people.
The government revises the list of essential drugs every two years. The latest list was released earlier this month.
“Drugs are procured through the central procurement agency through transparent tendering methods. Demand comes online so there is no scope of any manipulation at any step. It also helps get rid of paperwork,” said Dr Kamat.
The updated list is provided to all government hospitals. It includes antibiotics, vaccines, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic drugs, etc.
Apart from corruption allegations, the health department receives complaints of doctors not adhering to the essential drug list while prescribing medicines.
“We have directed hospitals to inform junior doctors who come from different states and may not be aware of our drug list. These doctors tend to prescribe medicines that are not part of our list because of which patients find it difficult to find them at our drug stores,” said Dr Kamat.
The health department instructed all hospital heads to hold orientation sessions for new doctors.
According to the sources in the health ministry, there could be surprise checks in hospitals to take stock of the availability of medicines. “This online measure should solve the problem, but we still will keep an eye in case there are any loopholes,” said an official.